Are cellphone companies using their sway over handset makers to unfairly limit consumers’ choices? Skype, a pioneer in PC-to-PC calling, thinks so, and it wants the Federal Communications Commission to do something about it.
In a blistering filing with the FCC, Skype basically accused Verizon Wireless and other big carriers of holding their customers hostage because most cellphones sold in the USA are “locked,” meaning you can only use applications and features sold by your carrier.
“Carriers are using their considerable influence over handset design and usage to maintain control over and limit subscribers’ right to run software communications applications of their choosing,” Skype told the FCC.
In its filing, Skype said carriers go to great lengths to keep cellphone users boxed in. “In an effort to prefer their own affiliated services and exclude rivals, carriers have disabled or crippled consumer-friendly features of mobile devices.” Carriers deny Skype’s charges.